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The Crab Claw

Route 33 West, St. Michaels, MD - (410) 745-2900
Posted By Michael Stern on 2/5/2001 4:35:00 AM
With its roots in a mid-century wholesale crab business by the water, The Crab Claw restaurant has evolved into one of the premier places to indulge in Maryland hot blue crabs and cold beer. Spiced crabs are the dish to eat along the eastern shore. At The Crab Claw, you can buy them one by one or, better yet, as a crab feast. A crab feast means that heaps of cooked crabs are dumped onto your table and you go after their pearl white spiced meat armed with pick and mallet, piles of napkins, and pitchers of beer.

Perched high on a pier overlooking the Miles River, The Crab Claw clatters with the sounds of hammering, cracking and slurping that are a crab feast's happy tune. Although instructions are provided telling exactly how to extract meat from a cooked hard-shelled crab, it can be hard work to get those big, silky hunks of sweet spiced meat that veteran crab feasters manage to extricate with aplomb. Ourselves, we are all thumbs when it comes to crab-eating, and too often seem to be able to salvage only strings and shreds of meat from even the largest crabs. That is why we frequently forgo crab feasts at the Crab Claw and indulge in crab cakes, soft-shell crabs, crab claws, crab soup, and crab cocktail. At one point many years ago, we actually ordered (but failed to fully excavate) a deep-fried hard-shelled crab, which was the strangest-looking critter: a whole crab, in its shell, blanketed with batter and fried until golden brown, then served with a knife and a mallet. The idea was to pick some of the batter off the exterior, then crack the shell and retrieve the meat inside. It was an adventure!

Oysters, clams, shrimp, and scallops are also available on The Crab Claw menu, as are filet mignon and chicken for crustacean-frowners. You can buy crabs by the dozen, to go, for a picnic; and you can arrive by boat and tie up at the nearby dock.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

On the day of our visit, only medium-sized crabs were available.  According to the menu,
"On the day of our visit, only medium-sized crabs were available. According to the menu, "If he don't kick - we don't cook!""
Cliff Strutz





Smith Island Cake is Maryland's official state dessert and The Crab Claw serves an excellent version.
"Smith Island Cake is Maryland's official state dessert and The Crab Claw serves an excellent version."
Cliff Strutz


The crab dog is similar to a corn dog, but dipped in a spicy crab batter.  Although an interesting novelty item, this probably won't be sweeping the nation anytime soon.
"The crab dog is similar to a corn dog, but dipped in a spicy crab batter. Although an interesting novelty item, this probably won't be sweeping the nation anytime soon."
Cliff Strutz


This is a deep-fried hard-shelled crab.  An amazing sight, but basic steamed (unfried) crabs are what put The Crab Claw on the map.
"This is a deep-fried hard-shelled crab. An amazing sight, but basic steamed (unfried) crabs are what put The Crab Claw on the map."
Michael Stern


The placemat comes with instructions for novices on how to extract the sweet crab meat.
"The placemat comes with instructions for novices on how to extract the sweet crab meat."
Cliff Strutz


Although there is indoor seating, how could you not sit outside next to the water?
"Although there is indoor seating, how could you not sit outside next to the water?"
Cliff Strutz


A scenic dining destination (by car or boat) along the Eastern Shore
"A scenic dining destination (by car or boat) along the Eastern Shore "
Michael Stern



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